Warner Music Files for $750M IPO

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Warner Music Group Corp. (search) , one of the world's largest record companies, on Friday revealed plans for an initial public stock offering, filing with regulators to sell up to $750 million worth of common stock on the New York Stock Exchange (search).

In its Securities and Exchange Commission (search) filing, the company did not estimate how many shares or at what price it planned to offer its stock, but said shares will be sold by both the company and several shareholders.

Proceeds from the deal will be used to repay debt and for general corporate purposes, according to the filing.

New York-based Warner Music was formed about a year ago when a group of investors, led by Edgar Bronfman Jr. (search) , bought Time Warner Inc.'s (TWX) music division for $2.6 billion.

The company's IPO plans emerged as the music industry shows signs of recovery following years of sagging sales blamed on the rise of illegal downloading and digital piracy. For the year ended Jan. 2, U.S. unit sales in the industry grew about 1 percent from a year earlier, when worldwide retail sales reached $32 billion, Warner Music said, citing SoundScan, a music research group.

Warner Music is among the smaller of the major record labels in an industry largely dominated by Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group, which respectively hold about 30 percent and 25 percent of the market, the group said in its filing.

The group, whose labels include Atlantic Records, Elektra Records and London Records, boasts a roster of more than 38,000 artists, with top singers such as Madonna, Linkin Park and Kid Rock. Recorded music accounted for 83 percent of revenue last year, while its publishing business generated the remaining 17 percent, Warner Music said.

For the latest quarter ended Dec. 31, Warner Music posted a profit of $36 million on $1.09 billion in revenue.